Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Heritage Preservation and Adaptive Reuse: Evergreen Brick Works

A recent Dwell feature focused on the Evergreen Brick Works development in Toronto. This 12 acre site is located at the former Don Valley Brick Works yard, which operated for over 100 years and during its prime produced more than 43 million bricks a year.

When Don Valley Brick Works closed in the 1980s the site fell into disrepair and the heritage buildings were left in a dilapidated state. In the 1990s Evergreen became responsible for the stewardship of the site and in 2002 the development of site’s current form began. Development of the site has focused on adaptive reuse, environmental sustainability and rehabilitation of the buildings.

A large portion of the original structures at the brick works yard have been preserved. For example, the Kilns portion of Evergreen was formally used to fire bricks has been maintained. The area still includes the original kilns and drying tunnels. Evergreen plans to use this space for art installations. The use of space in multiple ways seems like a great way to combine heritage with the interests of a variety of people. Additionally, Evergreen has taken an active role in heritage preservation, by collaborating with the City of Toronto Heritage Preservation Services and the Ontario Heritage Trust.

In addition to the preservation of buildings, this initiative has strove to develop the land on the site in a sustainable way. The site includes a plant demonstration space, a farmers market, and a park. It’s great to both the buildings and the landscape that surrounds them being thought of. A map of the entire site can be seen here.

Learning about the Evergreen Brick Works came as somewhat as a surprise, despite having grown up with in an hour of Toronto I had no idea that this initiative was taking place. The site is a great example of built heritage being preserved and made sustainable through adaptive reuse.

1 comment:

Kayla said...

Its a beautiful place! And they always have a lot going on to get the community involved. I have yet to be, but apparently they have an awesome farmer's market on the weekends.